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Milos Stagnum 2009
In his native Croatia Frano Miloš is regarded as one of the country’s most talented winemakers and he has been tending his family’s estate on the Pelješac Peninsula for over two decades. Frano comes from a long line of winemakers and his passion has transferred to his three children who now all play a growing role in the business.
Frano’s winemaking centres around the Plavac Mali variety which is closely related to ZInfandel and thrives in the sunny conditions in its Croatian homeland. To bring out the very best from the land Frano farms his Plavac Mali vines organically, hand harvests the grapes in the autumn, and only works with indigenous yeasts and minimal levels of added sulphites in the winery.
This focus on quality and respecting Mother Nature helps Frano to produce exceptional wines like his iconic Stagnum which is aged for at least five years in large Slavonian oak casks. The result is an incredibly complex, multifaceted red wine which opens with a gorgeous bouquet of crushed wild berries, licorice, graphite, and hints of Mediterranean herbs. This is a serious and powerful wine which is suitable for extended cellar ageing, but can also be enjoyed now alongside a prime steak or hearty beef stew.
Zlatan Otok Grand Plavac 2012
With a deep ruby colour, the wine aromas are a heady and complex mix of leather, vanilla and a hint of smokiness which is a feature of wines from this area. Ripe fruit such as plums, raisins and blackcurrant are also present. The palate confirms a lot of what the nose offers – plum, red berries, blackcurrant mixed with vanilla and perhaps even ripe figs. The tannins are strong but balance well with the high acidity. The wine oozes richness and complexity demonstrating that this is a wine that is of the highest quality. The finish is persistent and worthy of this wine.
With very low yields and careful selection of the Plavic Mali grapes, the wine produced is of the highest quality. Ageing in new oak adds complexity to the wine as well as vanilla tones, and the maturation is completed in bottle.
Great food matches include roasted red meats, beef stews, sausage, cheese, and game.
Originally known as Vitis, the name of the winery was changed to Zlatan Otok in 1993. The vineyards are located on the island of Hvar and benefit from prolonged sunshine on the south facing slopes of the island along with the cooling effects of the sea.
Matusko Dingac Reserva 2012
In Dalmatia the indigenous Plavac Mali grape is called the “blood of the soil” after its striking ruby red colour and essential role in local life. Some of the best examples come from Dingač which was the first Croatian wine region to be given Protected Designation of Origin status by the EU.
Run by a quirky local biker, Matusko winery occupies an enviable position on breathtaking steep cliffs facing the azure sea. Although not yet well known outside of Croatia, the winery has built a solid reputation for producing sensational dusky reds which express the essence of the local terroir.
Their Dingač Reserva exudes unusual floral notes and dense layers of ripe dark fruits, dried Mediterranean herbs and baking spices from the oak ageing. Thought to be related to the Zinfandel and Primitivo grapes which have achieved huge popularity in California and Italy, this interpretation of Plavac Mali is full bodied and rich yet balanced by a distinctive bitterness often found in its American and European cousins. Try serving it with a generous platter of charcuterie or even herb-roasted lamb to complement the delicate floral notes of this seductive red wine.
Veralda Istrian 2016
Intense deep red with dark violent tints, the strong expression of color continues with equal strength of aroma and flavor. On the nose, an explosion of juicy raspberry, dried tobacco leaves, and cocoa beans. Complete on the palate, saturated with round velvety tannins, full body and a long, lingering finish. Expressive and juicy fruit of ripe strawberry, with rich chocolate and coffee undertones, together in perfect harmony. The terroir is present in smooth minerals and optimal fruit freshness.
The fullness of this wine is a fabulous accompaniment to wild game, roast pork, grilled lamb- all things meaty! Equally pleasant with strong, aged cheese and charcuterie.
This 100% Refosco wine comes from the Veralda vineyard in Istria. The vineyard sits on the sunny hills of Buje, a region known for its white soil that produces fantastic grand cru wines. The family owned winery is focused on valorizing and respecting the unique qualities of the indigenous wines of Istria, which is clearly seen in this example of Refosk. Allowing the character of these unique grapes to flourish, the wine is powerful and tannic, fruity and full. Expect greater floral notes to become evident as the wine matures nicely in the cellar over the next 10 years. Winner of the 2016 Best in Show at the Decanter World Wines Awards, this is not a wine to be missed!
Suha Punta Gracin Babic 2015
Suha Punta is a very new winery but is already producing premium wines that, in the right hands, have been compared to syrah from the Rhone and merlot from St Emilion. It has been declared as the best Babic as well as being considered one of the best Croatian reds.
Babić is the single grape variety in the wine region of Primošten in northern Dalmatia. Babić needs poor soil, sun exposure and produces low yields of high quality fruit. Despite the summer heat and the hot rocks beneath it, Babic manages to successfully keep the ideal ratio of acids, which ultimately gives to wine more harmonious tone and somewhat more animated character. It’s a premium wine whose strength is found in the perfect balance of acid, alcohol and fruit.
Hand harvesting ensures only the best grapes that are ripened to perfection are picked. The low yields also add to the cost of production but the resulting wines are well worth the additional cost. Matured in new oak barriques, the wine is well balanced in terms of acidity and alcohol, with dry tannins adding to the balance.
On the nose, ripe berries, particularly cherries, and a hint of spice are prevalent.
The palate gives a modern, complex wine that confirms the nose, with ripe berry fruit and spice. The combination of ripe tannins, high acidity and high alcohol blend perfectly to provide an excellent structure to the wine. The malolactic fermentation and maturation in new oak adds a lovely creaminess to the wine. The finish is long as expected of this all round great wine.
This wine will drink very well now or will age for some time to come.
Food matches include steak, beef, duck and game. Would also go well with cheese.
Korlat Supreme Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Ruby with deep purple tinges, this elegant Cabernet Sauvignon exudes richness in appearance, aroma and flavor. Scents of roasted coffee and dark chocolate waft up from the glass, mixing with dark berries and a hint of mint. Aromatic complexity leads to a similar fullness of flavor, combining fresh sweetened boysenberry with tart blueberry, rounded out by bittersweet dark chocolate covered espresso beans. Intense flavor matched with rich velvety tannins result in this exemplary Cabernet.
With enough balance and excellence to be enjoyed alone, this wine shines alongside food. Pair with charcuterie platter of prosciutto and peppered salami, with ancho chili spiced pork, or a filet mignon with pepper cream sauce.
The Supreme line from Korlat vineyard is superb- and can be found in luxury hotels and fine Croatian restaurants. Fruit was hand-picked from only the best sites on the Korlat vineyards, produced in small quantities, aged for two and a half years in new and used French and American oak, creating a wine of the best quality.
Rich tannins in this Cabernet Sauvignon suggest beautiful aging potential. Watch as this wine’s deep purple color will change to rich red, and as coffee and cocoa notes translate into more leather and spice, and velvet tannins soften to suede. A showstopper now, and for many years to come, this is a super wine!